Objective COVID-19 has affected gynecologic cancer management. The goal of this survey was to evaluate changes that occurred in gynecologic oncology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods A anonymous survey consisting of 33 questions (https://sites.google.com/view/gyncacovidfmartinelli) regarding interaction between gynecologic cancers and COVID-19 was distributed online via social media from April 9 to April 30, 2020. Basic descriptive statistics were applied. Analytics of survey-diffusion and generated-interest (visualizations, engagement rates, response rate) were analyzed.
Results The survey received 20 836 visualizations, generating an average engagement rates by reach of 4.7%. The response rate was 30%. A total of 86% of respondents completed the survey, for a total of 187 physicians surveyed across 49 countries. The majority (143/187; 76%) were gynecologic oncologists, and most were ≤50 years old (146/187; 78%). A total of 49.7% (93/187) were facing the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 26.7% (50/187) and 23.5% (44/187) were in the peak and plateau phases, respectively. For 97.3% (182/187) of respondents COVID-19 affected or changed their respective clinical practice. Between 16% (27/165) (before surgery) and 25% (26/102) (before medical treatment) did not perform any tests to rule out COVID-19 infection among patients. The majority of respondents did not alter indications of treatment if patients were COVID-19-negative, while treatments were generally postponed in COVID-19-positive patients. Treatments were considered priority for: early stage high-risk uterine cancers (85/187; 45%), newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian cancer (76/187; 41%), and locally advanced cervical cancer (76/187; 41%). Treatment of early stage low-grade endometrioid endometrial cancer was deferred according to 49% (91/187) of respondents, with hormonal treatment as the option of therapy (31%; 56/178). A total of 77% (136/177) of respondents reported no changes in (surgical) treatment for early stage cervical cancer in COVID-19-negative patients, while treatment was postponed by 54% (96/177) of respondent, if the patient tested COVID-19-positive. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancers was considered by over one-third of respondents as well as hypofractionation of radiation treatment for locally advanced cervical cancers.
Conclusion COVID-19 affected the treatment of gynecologic cancers patients, both in terms of prioritization and identification of strategies to reduce hospital access and length of stay. Social media is a reliable tool to perform fast-tracking, worldwide surveys.
- cervical cancer
- ovarian cancer
- uterine cancer
- vulvar and vaginal cancer
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Contributors The authors equally contributed: in the project construction, data analysis, manuscript writing and approval.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data are available upon reasonable request. Write to email@example.com.